Another week has gone by and I have not a lot to show for it. I have done a few things. On Monday at the guild social I carded some roving that was to felty to spin easily. Now I have a nice stack of mostly green batts. I am not sure why I bought these colours. It looks very blue but it is more green then it seems in the picture. And now I am not sure where I put the bag of batts.
Recently on the Felting and Fiber Forum, Leonor was asking those of us who’d recently bought drum carders what we thought of them. I said I really liked mine from the Classic Carder company and didn’t tend to get fibre building up on the small drum, which seems to happen for some and I said I’d try and do some videos when I got chance. Yesterday I found time to do some videos. The first one took almost an hour to upload to youtube, so I have done some edited versions and I will try to upload the others when I have more time (it took 4 hours this morning). The first batt I made is using ‘texturey’ wools and fibres. They are mostly ones I have hand dyed myself, scoured wools like Bluefaced Leicester, Wensleydale and Falkland, carded Icelandic, some Alpaca, dyed Devon tops and some hand dyed silk tops and silk noil.
This is the video, sorry the light isn’t brilliant.
This next video is showing commercial wool tops being carded, these go through a lot easier, and the end ‘batt’ is a lot neater and smoother, more like wide roving than a batt. You can use the drum carder to make your own blends from wool tops which are usually more expensive than single colours. Depending on how you put the wool through will depend how ‘stripey’ it is or how blended.
I like to make blended batts with some texture and some wool tops. This next video shows about half of the texture batt being blended with the wool tops batt, I think I added some soy tops, flax and ramie to this too.
I don’t often do this, but for demonstration purposes, I put the texture and tops batt from the previous video through again.
I used a shower curtain on the table while making these videos, I hoped the white would help lighten them a little, I don’t think it made much difference, but it does show up some of the dust that collects under the carder!
At least once a year I’ve contemplated buying myself a drum carder. But after seeing the wool blends Ann carded a few weeks ago, I seriously considered it, and after looking at a link Judith gave me to ebay, I bought myself a gorgeous handmade Ash drum carder from the Classic Carder company. I wasn’t very good on my first few tries, but I soon got the hang of it 🙂
I thought I should have an ‘aim’ instead of just going mad and making lots of nice coloured batts, so I decided to work out roughly how much wool I’d need for one layer if I’m making a piece of felt big enough to make a cover for an A6 notebook. I got my template out, chose a coppery bronze colour theme and then laid out the different coloured wools in different proportions.
I then gathered all the colours up, weighed them and kept notes. I’d usually think to do this after the fifth time of laying out colours, so I’m impressed with myself 🙂
I added some small amounts of flax and soy top to a couple of the lighter colours, and it’s not very obvious from the photo, but I added black bamboo to the natural brown merino.
I was impressed with how it looked after just one turn through the carder, but I wanted it more subtle than it had turned out, so I put the wool through again. I really like how it turned out the second time. I’m so glad I finally got a carder. It looks gorgeous, is incredibly well made and turns out the most gorgeous batts.
I’ve been thinking for a long time about making up ‘experimental’ or ‘inspiration’ fibre packs to sell on etsy. Working out what to put in there to make it worthwhile with our postage prices was difficult, but Marilyn recently suggested selling wool as well to make it more of a kit. I had a think about how to do it and came up with the idea of including just enough wool to do one layer, a nice blend for the top. I thought this batt would be perfect for the first one as it’s the same colours I used for my coppery bronze piece that so many people liked. It gave me an excuse to get out my favourite shades of organza too.
I measured and weighed the organza, picked out some matching cotton gauze, novelty art yarns and silk throwster’s waste like I used on my coppery piece, and also made another little batt to make sure there was enough. But I think after lots of weighing and measuring, the pack is finished. I just need to write up the description when I get back later today, but then I’ll list it on etsy.
Let me know what you think of it, is it a good selection of fabrics and fibers?